6 Reasons You Aren’t Sleeping – Insomnia Part 1:
Support your body’s natural rhythms
Getting in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, is one of the most important strategies for achieving good sleep and combating insomnia. If you keep a regular sleep schedule—going to bed and getting up at the same time each day—you will feel much more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. This holds true even if you alter your sleep schedule by only an hour or two. Consistency is vitally important to conquering insomnia.
- Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. Sticking to a consistent sleep-wake schedule helps set your body’s internal clock and optimize the quality of your sleep. Start by setting a realistic bedtime that will work with your lifestyle. Choose a time when you normally feel tired, so that you don’t toss and turn. If you’re getting enough sleep, you should wake up naturally without an alarm. If you need an alarm clock to wake up on time, you may need to set an earlier bedtime.
- Avoid sleeping in—even on weekends or nights you’ve stayed up late. It can be tempting to sleep in on weekends, but even a couple hour difference in wake time disrupts your internal clock. The more your weekend/weekday sleep schedules differ, the worse the jetlag-like symptoms you’ll experience. If you need to make up for a late night, opt for a daytime nap rather than sleeping in. This strategy allows you to pay off your sleep debt without disturbing your natural sleep-wake rhythm, which often backfires in insomnia and other sleep disorders and throws you off for days.
- Be smart about napping. As mentioned above, napping is a good way to recharge and make up for lost sleep hours. But if you tend to have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night, napping can make things worse. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating naps altogether or limiting them to 20 minutes (natural rhythm) in the early afternoon around 1-2 pm.
- Fight after-dinner drowsiness. If you find yourself getting sleepy way before your bedtime, get off the couch and do something mildly stimulating to avoid falling asleep, such as washing the dishes, calling a friend, or getting clothes ready for the next day. If you give in to the drowsiness, you may wake up later in the night and have trouble getting back to sleep.
- Avoid Blue Light Time before bed. Blue light stimulates the brain and does not allow it to settle down before bed. Insomnia and sleep problems are worsened when the brain is exposed to blue light 1 hour before bedtime. Opt for a book to read rather that looking at your phone, T.V., or other screens which transmit blue light, contribute to brain stimulation, and lack of restful sleep.
- Get your nervous system checked. Did you know that pressure in the upper neck where the brain stem sets can affect your sleep? If the Atlas bone is out of alignment it may be putting pressure on the brain stem causing congestion of the brain itself. Symptoms may include insomnia, chronic tiredness and fatigue, fuzzy thinking, moodiness, forgetfulness even memory loss.
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